Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

9 Winners and 3 Losers after the Steelers win over the Raiders

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Sunday for the third game of the 2023 regular season when they played the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3 of regular season action. The Steelers were winners in the contest, but that doesn’t mean every player had a good or bad performance.

Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left a lot to be desired can be called ‘Losers’. It may sound harsh, but it is the crux of this exercise.

Let’s check in to see who fell on which side of the ledger after the latest game…


T.J. Watt
Stat Line: 2 tackles, 2 solo, 2 TFL, 2 Sacks, 3 QB Hits

I say it every week, and I mean it every week. T.J. could be on this list every time he plays and finishes the game. He impacts the game in so many ways which don’t show up on the stat line. Look at last night’s game, two interceptions were due to Watt’s presence in the backfield. He’s as dominant as they come.

Kenny Pickett
Stat Line: 16/28, 235 yards, 8.4 ave., 2 TD, 0 INT, 1 sack-7yds, 108.5 Rating / 3 carries, 11 yards

While Pickett did have some struggles in this game, he looked closer to the Pickett we all expected heading into 2023 than what we saw in Week 2. It was a big step in the right direction, mainly in the fact he didn’t turn the ball over and put up two touchdowns for the first time in his career. I would like to see the Steelers utilize this legs more as a planned part of the offense.

Calvin Austin III
Stat Line: 2 catches, 72 yards, 36.0 average, 1 TD, 72 long, 6 targets

We all were waiting for the first big play from CA3, and we finally saw it vs. the Raiders. The 72-yard bomb was a beautiful play, and one which should prove to many Austin is capable of being a player at the NFL level. Some called him Dri Archer 2.0 when he was drafted, but I think he is so much more than someone who is just fast. Good to see the guy who missed all of last season step up in a big way when the offense needed a jump start.

George Pickens
Stat Line: 4 catches, 75 yards, 18.8 average, 0 TD, 32 long, 6 targets

I could have put Pat Freiermuth on this list, but chose not to for one reason…I saw some growth in Pickens on Sunday night. Pickens was getting the double teams thrown his way vs. Las Vegas, and he still made plays. He isn’t the receiver who is known for separation, but he was able to make plays. Outside of the dumb pre-snap penalty which negated a Kenny Pickett run, Pickens took some big strides Sunday night.

Chris Boswell
Stat Line: FGs Made (57,52,43), 2/2 XP

2022 was a down year for Boswell, whether people want to talk about it or not, but he looks healthy and back to his Pro Bowl form. Boswell’s 57-yard kick looked like it would have been good from 60. Good to have the Wizard of Boz back in town.

Pressley Harvin III
Stat Line: 6 punts, 53.8 ave., 0 touchbacks, 3 inside 20, 63 long

If I’m being honest, Big Press could have been on this list last week. Two weeks in a row is worth noting and Pressley Harvin showed up when it mattered most. I have to be honest, when he had his worst punt of the game after the Steelers 3-and-out in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter I almost took him off the list; however, he saved his best for last on the beautiful directional punt which essentially sealed the win for the Steelers. Consistency is key with kicking, so hopefully Harvin can keep it up.

Points Off Turnovers
Stat Line: 10 points off turnovers

The Steelers offense getting 10 points off turnovers is huge. Last week it was the defense scoring touchdowns, but this week it was all about the offense finally getting into a groove. The defense is taking the ball away at a tremendous clip, and if the offense can turn those into points will go a long way to the team’s overall success.

Keeanu Benton
Stat Line: 1 tackle, 1 solo, 1 TFL, 1 QB Hit, 1 Sack

Benton has been quietly putting together a very strong rookie campaign, it just might not show up on the stat sheet. If Benton takes up two offensive linemen and Cole Holcomb can explode through the line and make a play, he doesn’t get the credit but he helped make that play. To see Benton get a sack, his first of his career, was a really great moment for the rookie.

Levi Wallace
Stat Line: 6 tackles, 4 solo, 4 pass defense, 2 INTs

Wallace went from loser to winner really quick in this game. He was tasked with trying to slow down Davante Adams on more than one occasion, and was struggling. I don’t blame him, Adams is an All-Pro caliber player. However, Wallace’s two interceptions finds him on the right side of the ledger after this game. A nice rebound for him after some rough spots in this game.

Steelers Pass Rush
Stat Line: 4 sacks, 8 QB Hits

The Raiders hadn’t given up a sack yet this season, until Week 3. The Steelers’ pass rush was all around Jimmy G, and it paid off. The Steelers defensive front is really good, and I just can’t wait until Cam Heyward joins the team again to be the missing piece of the puzzle.


Najee Harris Play Designs
Stat Line: It’s a numbers game

I’m not putting Najee Harris on the loser list, but the play designs when his name is called. The Raiders would have 8-9 players in the box, and the Steelers repeatedly bashed their head against the proverbial wall. Maybe Pickett can’t check out of runs, or maybe some people struggle with simple addition, but the Steelers need to mix it up and run some play-action passes to soften up these boxes when No. 22 is in the lineup.

3rd Down Offense
Stat Line: 6-for-15

This was a game where the Steelers had more than one opportunity to ice the game away, and the offense couldn’t do it. It all surrounds the team’s sub-par 3rd down offense. And it isn’t as if they aren’t converting on 3rd and long plays, they are failing on 3rd and short. If they want to be taken serious, they need to improve in this area in a big way, and fast.

Stat Line: 6 penalties for 45 yards

I’m not one to think the NFL is rigged or set up to create certain matchups/situations, but the Minkah Fitzpatrick roughing the passer penalty has me second-guessing that stance. When the game looked to be out of hand, that penalty gave the Raiders new life and made it close. Just what the NFL wants. I’ll go put my tinfoil hat aside now…for another week.

If you want a more detailed look at the above list, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast in the player below where I outline each Winner and Loser, and MORE!

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